Ryan Petrovich, MORGANTOWN – West Virginia managed to pull off the upset Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers beat the eighth ranked Kansas Jayhawks 92-86.
Juwan Staten started the Mountaineers off by driving the lane and putting in a layup just before the shot clock expired. The Jayhawks answer with a three from Wayne Selden Jr. but Eron Harris came right back down the other end and nailed a three of his own. West Virginia and Kansas were tied at 5 in the early going.
Devin Williams began to heat up for West Virginia. The freshman picked up eight points inside the paint and from the foul line. Williams' baskets allowed the Mountaineers to have an 18-11 lead with 14:17 remaining in the first half.
"Dev played really well, scoring through contact," said head coach Bob Huggins. "He made open shots, which he does in practice. He's pretty good at shooting them and he rebounds of course."
"I'm still learning," said Williams. "It feels good. The fans came out and ran on the floor, I appreciate that. We just came out and competed and we're going to move on and continue to grow."
Harris completed an old fashion three-point play while Staten knocked down two free throws after being fouled penetrating the lane. West Virginia extended their lead to 10, 27-17 with 10:19 remaining in the first half.
Kansas found two quick scores, a three from Selden Jr. and a dunk by Andrew Wiggins narrowed the Jayhawk's deficit. Kansas still trailed West Virginia 35-28 with 6:17 to go in the first half.
Terry Henderson scored a transition layup off a nifty assist from Harris while the Jayhawks turned the ball over on the other end. Harris came back and drained a three pointer to give West Virginia a 48-34 lead with just under a minute remaining in the first half.
A big first half from Williams and Staten allowed the Mountaineers to carry a 50-38 lead going into halftime.
West Virginia shot 27-51 (53 percent) from the field and 9-16 (56 percent) from beyond the arc.
Harris led the Mountaineers in scoring with 28 but it was a big-time contribution from Williams who scored 22 that made the difference for West Virginia.
"Eron, he's sometimes does too much but he's trying to win," said Huggins. "When he's doing what he's doing, he's pretty dang on good. He had 28 against a pretty good team today."
"We just got to win as many games as we can and not think about losing," said Harris. "I wasn't really thinking we're doing something special right now. We're doing what we're supposed to be doing."
Williams picked up where he left off, scoring the first basket of the second half for the Mountaineers. Harris then knocked down a three as the Mountaineers' lead grew to 55-38 early in the second half.
Remi Dibo then got in on the three-pointer action as he hit a three from the corner. West Virginia found their largest lead of the game, up 20 early in the second half.
The Jayhawks tried to find answers as Wiggins scored two baskets but West Virginia continued to roll as Harris completed a three-point play extended the Mountaineers' lead to, 69-52 midway through the second half.
Kansas cut into West Virginia's lead after Wiggins hit a pair of foul shots. The Jayhawks still found themselves behind as West Virginia led Kansas 78-65 with 6:52 remaining in the contest.
Kansas went 28-62 (45 percent) from the floor and 8-23 (35 percent) from behind the three-point line. Wiggins led the Jayhawks in scoring with 41 points.
Wiggins cut the deficit to 10 after knocking down a three; the Jayhawks began to fight back as several trips to the free throw line saw the Jayhawks climb back into it.
However, Gary Browne hit a three pointer to give the Mountaineers some breathing room. The Mountaineers maintained their lead, 83-68 late in the game.
Wiggins hit another shot as the freshman kept the Jayhawks alive. Kansas only trailed West Virginia 85-77 with 1:45 remaining.
West Virginia was able to hold off the Jayhawks late surge as the Mountaineers downed the eighth ranked Jayhawks, 92-86.